I realize a post about this past Sunday’s playoff action is a little late, but I’ve been a little busy … sort of. Let’s pretend for a moment that I didn’t spend the last three days in my basement, curled in the fetal position, sucking my thumb, shaking and uttering “Tom Brady can’t hurt me down here…” over and over. Don’t think about that, I’m gonna try and pick myself up and actually write something coherent about Sunday’s debacle. It’s been long enough that I feel like I can comment on what might have been the worst collapse a team I’ve rooted for has ever had. Oh and to all of you who have always claimed Tom Brady was evil and in some way affiliated with Satan, I can’t say I ever took you seriously and I’d like to apologize.
Make no mistake, the Patriots didn’t win that game on Sunday afternoon, the Chargers lost it. A team that had been so good at closing the door on opponents this year, gave the Pats opportunity after opportunity to get back into the game. And it wasn’t coaching, preparation or even nerves. They just did the same stupid crap that the Mike Riley-coached Charger teams of the early 2000’s did and that these guys hadn’t done all season. They penalized, fumbled and botched every opportunity they had to slam the door on the “Bratriots,” and therefore absolutely deserved to lose, despite essentially dominating the game.
They hardest part for us Charger fans is that the team did everything every expert said they needed to do in order to win. They said the Chargers needed to:
1.) Stop the Pats ground game. It is the heart of their attack.
– 21 rushes for 51 yards for New England.
2.) Pressure Brady and not let him get into a rhythm.
– Brady’s line: 27-51, 280, 2 TD 3 INT. Not his best game. The Pats had never won when Brady had thrown 3 INTs.
3.) LT has to have a good game.
– 23 rushes for 123 yards, 2 TDs, 2 catches for 64 yards.
Check, check and check. So where’s the win? It disappeared just like the turnover Marlon McCree had to seal the game, when Troy Brown stole the ball, the game and the season away. From Rivers lobbing a moronic swing pass that Roosevelt Colvin picked off, to a muffed punt by the always reliable Eric Parker, the Chargers gift-wrapped this one for the Pats. But McCree’s fourth down interception with around 5 minutes remainging, would have all but iced the game. Instead the Pats marched 32 yards in 5 plays to tie the game up. McCree came up so big for the Chargers all season. He made our secondary so much better just by being around the young guys, and to see him do something so stupid made me realize it simply wasn’t our day. Oh and for future reference: MARLON, KNOCK THE BALL DOWN, IT’S FOURTH DOWN, WE DON’T NEED AN INTERCEPTION!!!!!! (Sorry, I’ve been holding that in for three days.)
Instead the game played out like so many New England triumphs, and by the time I regained consciousness all I saw was: 24-21 Patriots.
14-2 down the drain. LT’s MVP season? Gone. Philip Rivers’ incredible run as a first year starter? All for naught. Marty’s redemption? Not this year.
What makes this so much worse is how badly we all wanted to win this game and eventually, finally, get a major sports championship to San Diego. I personally wanted it more than I want to be that guy in the Iowa jersey. And everyone knows we had the team to do it. Two weeks ago I told McD that the only team in the NFL I was afraid of was the Patriots. Damn do I hate being right all the time.
And for the record, I’m officially on the Saints bandwagon for the rest of the season. Simply because I couldn’t take it if the Bears or Colts won because I’d hear about it endlessly from everyone around me. And I can’t root for Brady and Co. because Pats fans have had too much fun lately. It’s time for them to wallow like I had to.